Living in the Ottoman Realm: Empire and Identity, 13th to 20th Centuries

Views: 261
Ratings: (0)

Living in the Ottoman Realm brings the Ottoman Empire to life in all of its ethnic, religious, linguistic, and geographic diversity. The contributors explore the development and transformation of identity over the long span of the empire's existence. They offer engaging accounts of individuals, groups, and communities by drawing on a rich array of primary sources, some available in English translation for the first time. These materials are examined with new methodological approaches to gain a deeper understanding of what it meant to be Ottoman. Designed for use as a course text, each chapter includes study questions and suggestions for further reading.

List price: $34.99

Your Price: $27.99

You Save: 20%

 

24 Slices

Format Buy Remix

Introduction: Dealing with Identity in the Ottoman Empire

ePub

Christine Isom-Verhaaren and Kent F. Schull

THE OTTOMANS established one of the longest lived, most powerful, and largest empires in history, lasting for over six centuries and ruled by one continuous dynasty from the end of the thirteenth century to the early twentieth. Their empire left its mark on the regions known today as southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. It stretched from the eastern gates of Vienna to the borders of contemporary Iran in the east, Morocco in the west, north to the Black Sea, and south to the tip of Arabia.

The Ottomans exercised soft power through diplomacy, alliances, trade, patronage of the arts and sciences, and the movements of large numbers of people, extending their influence beyond the territory they controlled politically and militarily. Throughout its existence, the empire was the epitome of connectivity between East and West, a crossroads of Eurasia, Africa, and the Indian Ocean basin.

As a result of these exchanges and interactions, within the Ottoman territories existed an incredibly diverse population whose individuals, groups, and cities negotiated their identities. Over the past two decades, scholars and the broader world have rediscovered the importance of the Ottoman Empire to European, Middle Eastern, and world history, and a central focus of this interest has been the social and cultural diversity of the empire.

 

1 The Giving Divide: Food Gifts and Social Identity in Late Medieval Anatolia

ePub

Nicolas Trépanier

PEOPLE WHO LIVED in late medieval Anatolia did not write much about identity in the abstract sense; in fact, Muslim sources from that period do not use any word that could be translated as “identity” in its modern meaning. Yet it is clear that they identified some people as part of the same group because they shared an identity. This is most obvious in the ethnic labels that are the focus of most other contributions to this volume. In this chapter, I approach the question in a way that is less uniquely Ottoman, concentrating on the social hierarchy during the period when the Ottomans came to power, fourteenth-century Anatolia.

The challenge here is to pry out answers to questions that the sources themselves never ask and explore a realm of consideration that they never explicitly evoke. This requires an angle, a handle, which in this case will be food gifts. As a voluntary form of social interaction loaded with meaning, the act of giving food betrays quite a lot about the social identity of both the giver and the recipient. The historian who identifies the givers and recipients of food and observes the context and modalities of these food transfers can therefore offer insight into a layer of identity that was at once deeply internalized and largely removed from any reference to the state, ethnicity, or religion. Extrapolating from scenes that depict food gifts, in short, allows us to shed light on a period on which relatively little social and cultural history has been written.

 

2 Changing Perceptions along the Frontiers: The Moving Frontier with Rum in Late Medieval Anatolian Frontier Narratives

ePub

Zeynep Aydoğan

When Humayun [Hümayun Şah of India, d. 1556] asked him [Seydi Ali Reis] a tricky question as to which country was bigger, the country of Rum (vilayet-i Rum) or Hindustan, he had boldly answered: “If, by Rum, one means Rum, strictly speaking, that is, the province of Sivas (called Rum in Ottoman administrative division), then Hindustan is bigger. But if one means the lands under the rule of the Padishah-ı Rum, Hind does not amount to one-tenth of it.”1

In the early Islamic sources, Bilad al-Rum (countries of Rum) meant Byzantine territory, and Muslim scholars such as Bukhari, Tabari, and Masudi referred to these lands as “Rum.”2 The natural frontier of Bilad al-Rum was defined by the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates.3 The term began to be applied to the Seljuks in Anatolia, who were called Selçukiyan-ı Rum, setting them apart from the Seljuks in Baghdad. For the Ottomans, the term was used to refer to, among other meanings, the country that they inhabited, Memleket-i Rum (the country of Rum).4

 

3 The Genoese of Pera in the Fifteenth Century: Draperio and Spinola Families

ePub

F. Özden Mercan

Genoese Policy during the Siege of Constantinople, 1453

Most honored brothers from Genoa, courageous and illustrious warriors! You are aware and know that this city was not only mine but yours for too many reasons. You have often assisted her willingly in hours of need and have delivered her from her enemies, the sons of Hagar. Once again it is time to demonstrate your love in Christ, your bravery and your excellence in her cause.1

Byzantine emperor Constantine XI uttered these words to the Genoese of Pera in his public speech on the eve of the conquest of Constantinople. Soon after, the city was besieged and lost to the Ottomans. To what extent the Genoese “brothers” strove for the defense of the city remains a question. Contemporary sources make conflicting remarks about the position of the Genoese community during the conquest. According to Niccolò Barbaro, a Venetian eyewitness, the Genoese betrayed their Christian faith and spied for the Ottomans “to show themselves friendly to the Turkish sultan.”2 On the other hand, another contemporary witness, Michael Doukas, argues, “The compelling thought that if the city fell, their fortress would become desolate had also occurred to them [the Genoese]. Consequently, they dispatched letters to Genoa pleading for assistance.”3 A ship with troops was sent from Genoa to help the Genoese in Pera.4 Moreover, Giovanni Giustiniani-Longo, from a noble Genoese family, was appointed as the general commander of the Byzantine army and stood next to Emperor Constantine in the defense of the city.

 

4 From Byzantine Aristocracy to Ottoman Ruling Elite: Mahmud Pasha Angelović and His Christian Circle, 1458–1474

ePub

Theoharis Stavrides

MAHMUD PASHA Angelović was a Balkan Christian aristocrat who rose in the Ottoman hierarchy to reach the office of grand vizier. The story of Mahmud Pasha and his circle of Christian aristocrats took place in a period of transition and reflects the ambivalence of Balkan Christian aristocracy toward the new Ottoman order in the mid-fifteenth century. Mahmud Pasha best exemplifies this hesitation between rejection and integration: while being one of the most important representatives of the new Ottoman order—warrior, diplomat, poet, and builder of mosques, schools, and hospices—he also kept strong ties with his Christian relatives and wrote a poem that provides an image unique in the Ottoman poetry of his period:

Your curl, which by coiling holds upon it your ruby lip

is Mary, who took Jesus into her embrace.1

The image of the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus in her embrace, an image familiar in Byzantine iconography, constitutes a tiny subtle reminder that the grand vizier belonged to two worlds.

 

5 Interpreting Ottoman Identity with the Historian Neşri

ePub

Murat Cem Mengüç

SOMETIME BETWEEN 1487 and 1492, an Ottoman author named Mevlânâ Mehmed Neşri (ca. 1450–1520) composed a history book titled Kitâbı Cihannüma (The book of world observer).1 Cihannüma became the first book of world history composed in Turkish that included a history of the Ottomans. As such, it represented the Ottoman past within an erudite context and as a text designed for popular readership. Considered the most influential narrative of Ottoman history among later Ottoman historians, the book seems to have appealed to later generations because of its more accurate chronology, use of otherwise neglected sources, and inclusion of popular accounts and hearsay, which had their roots in Turkic Anatolian traditions.

In Cihannüma, Neşri employed an unapologetic Turkic description of the Ottomans, which was not necessarily appreciated at the Ottoman court at the time. Upon its completion and presentation to Sultan Bayezid II, the book seems to have achieved no special favors for its author. In other words, the most influential Ottoman history for later generations may have been written outside the Ottoman court’s influence and ideological preferences. This chapter discusses this issue and the relevance of Cihannüma to representations of Ottoman identity. It focuses on the historical context in which it was composed, discusses Neşri’s Turkic sympathies, and analyzes a short passage from the book.

 

6 A Shaykh, a Prince, and a Sack of Corn: An Anatolian Sufi Becomes Ottoman

ePub

Hasan Karataş

HABIB-I KARAMANI (d. 1496) lived in fifteenth-century Anatolia during its incorporation into the Ottoman world. It was a time and place swept by a series of upheavals, as was Karamani’s career as the shaykh (master) of a Sufi order, a Muslim brotherhood organized around the ideals of a mystic. By the end of the fifteenth century, the places where Karamani had spent his life and developed a Sufi career were Ottomanized, as was his Sufi order. Karamani, similar to the recently incorporated societies and institutions of central Anatolia, tried to open up for himself and his followers a niche in the new world of Ottoman Anatolia. Below is Karamani’s story of Ottomanization, in which a troubled Ottoman prince and an ancient Anatolian urban center play a significant role.

Karamani’s story is one of countless narratives of Ottomanization. As a Muslim Turk living in central Anatolia, he probably had an ethnic and religious identity, worldview, and way of life similar to the Ottomans. However, even after the Ottoman conquest of his native lands Karamani was not fully an Ottoman, in the sense that he did not belong to an Ottoman network. In Karamani’s story, Ottomanization meant joining Ottoman political networks via participation in the succession struggle of 1481. There is reciprocity involved in Karamani’s relationship with the Ottomans. In exchange for financial and political backing, Karamani provided religious prestige and legitimacy to the Ottomans in a region they had recently incorporated into their realm. As Karamani’s Sufi order, the Halvetiye, became Ottoman toward the end of the fifteenth century, it actively contributed to the construction of an Ottoman identity. Looked at from this perspective, Ottoman identity, especially in this formative period, becomes not a template imposed by an expanding empire but a process in which both the conquerors and the conquered negotiated its construction.

 

7 Ibn-i Kemal’s Confessionalism and the Construction of an Ottoman Islam

ePub

Nabil Al-Tikriti

Following several decades of intellectual ferment and ideological experimentation, the Ottoman Empire faced a serious ideological challenge from an aggressive and revolutionary Safavid movement around the turn of the sixteenth century. Historians differ on the precise origin and date of this challenge, largely because no single event has come to define it. The full story of the rise of the Safavid movement is long, starting with a gradual and somewhat mysterious evolution from a quiescent local Sufi order in the early fourteenth century to a powerful revolutionary force by the middle of the fifteenth century. Two generations of Safavid-led uprisings in the 1460s and 1480s were soundly crushed by sovereign dynasties in the Caucasus. However, by the next decade, the movement rose to regional dominance as the sprawling Aqqoyunlu Empire unraveled in the wake of several violent succession struggles. Once this revolutionary Sufi movement took formal political power with its 1501 capture of Tabriz, Ottoman officials were forced to take action to counter what had by then evolved into a serious ideological threat.

 

8 Becoming Ottoman in Sixteenth-Century Aintab

ePub

Leslie Peirce

A GENERATION after its surrender to Sultan Selim I in August 1516, the city of Aintab and the province of which it was the capital were busy adjusting to the new Ottoman presence and exploiting it as well. For a northern Syrian province whose recent overlords had resided to the south—in Cairo, Damascus, or Aleppo—Istanbul demanded a radically new orientation. But if the Ottoman conquest meant subordination to imperial policies, it did not mean wholesale domination by the capital. The governors, judges, and soldiers assigned to Aintab by the ruling regime included numerous local individuals. More important, Ottoman practice depended heavily on the cooperation of provincial power brokers, especially in the aftermath of conquest.

Aintab entered the Ottoman domains in a period when the empire was still “becoming.” Selim’s huge conquests of 1514 and 1516–1517 doubled its size, and the process of absorbing new territories was far from immediate. It was only around 1536 that Aintab began to appear regularly in records of the province’s integration into imperial networks of administration. Two kinds of Ottoman bookkeeping provide the portrait of Aintab sketched here. One is the case records kept by the judge of the Aintab court. The other is the detailed land and census surveys (tahrirs) periodically carried out by the Ottoman regime; the Aintab surveys of 1536 and 1543 are bookends for the period this chapter focuses on.

 

9 Making Jerusalem Ottoman

ePub

Amy Singer

STANDARD ARABIC accounts of the Ottoman conquest of Jerusalem from the Mamluks in 1516 have little to say about the event itself, largely because it occurred with minimal conflict or upheaval. The city was taken without a fight in the context of the Ottoman march south toward Cairo, after the battle of Marj Dabiq near Aleppo in August 1516. Other military confrontations took place only in Gaza and then in January 1517 at Raydaniyya, near Cairo. Yet a closer examination of the first half century of Ottoman rule after the conquest reveals that the Ottomans invested enormous sums and energy to conquer Jerusalem, to make it Ottoman, despite the absence of overt military action or opposition. These expenditures reflect the extraordinary spiritual (and hence, political) status of the city, which was disproportionate to its importance in terms of location, economic capacity, and population size. As a holy city for Muslims, it drew Ottoman attention, yet its position as a spiritual center for Christians was no less crucial in determining its strategic importance. Thus, the process of Ottoman conquest in Jerusalem was as deliberate and unequivocal as any military campaign.

 

10 Ibrahim ibn Khidr al-Qaramani: A Merchant and Urban Notable of Early Ottoman Aleppo

ePub

Charles Wilkins

THE OTTOMAN conquest of the Mamluk Sultanate in 1516–1517 constituted the single largest addition of territory to Ottoman domains in the empire’s history and held great importance for the empire’s evolution. The Mamluk sultans dominated Egypt, Syria, and Western Arabia (the Hijaz) and had governed a large population; protected major routes of communication between Europe, Asia, and Africa; and claimed legitimacy as upholders of Islamic law and tradition in the heartland of Muslim civilization. From an economic point of view, the joining of Mamluk and Ottoman lands under a single, powerful ruler after 1517 created a vast, secure, and relatively integrated single zone of trade that must have expanded commercial opportunity. Ottoman state practices in the economic sphere also differed substantially from those of the Mamluks. What did it mean to be an Ottoman merchant at this moment in history? This chapter considers the career of Ibrahim ibn Khidr al-Qaramani (d. 1557),1 an Anatolian Muslim trader resident in Aleppo, once a city of the Mamluk Sultanate and now incorporated into the Ottoman domains. Though hailing from a Turkish-speaking Anatolian town, al-Qaramani must have developed a hybrid cultural identity, because he lived much of his life in a predominantly Arabic-speaking city and married into at least one local family.

 

11 Mihrimah Sultan: A Princess Constructs Ottoman Dynastic Identity

ePub

Christine Isom-Verhaaren

THE OTTOMAN Empire’s vast territories were united under the rule of the house of Osman, highlighting that the dynasty was an essential component of imperial identity, providing the ideology that held disparate lands together. The imperial family included children of the sultan who competed with each other in a quest for power and status. Generally, historians have focused on the accomplishments of males of the dynasty because only they could reign. However, women of the dynasty often wielded great power and influence, contributing to the survival of the dynasty beyond bearing children. The most famous of these women were the mothers of reigning rulers, the valide sultans. Ottoman princesses, the most notable of whom was Mihrimah Sultan, could also influence events and increase the power and prestige of the ruling family. During her lifetime, few individuals beyond her immediate family glimpsed the princess; however, from the sixteenth century until the present, millions—tourists and locals alike—have gazed on the mosques that she created through her architectural patronage. These have become enduring memorials to her name and to the glory of the house of Osman.

 

12 The Sultan’s Advisors and Their Opinions on the Identity of the Ottoman Elite, 1580–1653

ePub

Linda T. Darling

OTTOMAN AUTHORS WROTE several works of political advice for sultans in the years 1580–1653. Unlike medieval advice works (mirrors for princes), these works were not stereotyped moral descriptions of the good prince, or rather the just sultan, illustrated with episodes from Islamic and Persian history and legend. These authors claimed to analyze the problems of the current age and give practical advice for their solution. One of the chief problems they complained about was the adulteration of the Ottoman elite by outsiders, the contamination of Ottoman identity by people without the proper background or education to be true Ottomans. Although these outsiders were undoubtedly subjects of the Ottoman sultan, this was not enough to qualify for official positions or merit the rewards of service. In these authors’ opinion, a true Ottoman came from a good family, was well educated, and followed the prescribed career path, and therefore he deserved the wealth and power obtainable on that path.

 

13 Fleeing “the Vomit of Infidelity”: Borders, Conversion, and Muslim Women’s Agency

ePub

Eric Dursteler

IN LATE MARCH 1637, the mighty ships of Venice’s Mediterranean fleet dropped anchor in the bay of Milos, the westernmost island in the Cyclades. Commanded by Captain Pietro Mocenigo, the fleet was tasked with keeping Venetian shipping safe in the corsair-infested waters of the Aegean Sea. Late one night, Maria Gozzadini and her daughters—Aissè, seventeen; Eminè, nine; and Catigè, four—slipped aboard Mocenigo’s ship in the company of several “men from the galley.”1 Except for the hour, this was not unusual, Venetian ships often carried passengers, indeed several women were already on board. This mother and her daughters were far from normal passengers, however, and their flight from Milos produced a confrontation that eventually threatened the generally peaceful relations between the Venetian and Ottoman Empires. Their story provides rare insight into the experiences of women in the early modern Mediterranean, who infrequently appear in the documentary record, and the ways they were able to shape their lives and negotiate the patriarchal cultural and political structures of their day.

 

14 Policing Morality: Crossing Gender and Communal Boundaries in an Age of Political Crisis and Religious Controversy

ePub

Fariba Zarinebaf

THE SECOND HALF of the seventeenth century in the Ottoman Empire (often referred to as the Köprülü era) has usually been studied as a period of economic and military reforms and administrative centralization in the hands of a series of strong grand viziers from the Köprülü household. It was, however, also a period of intense political, economic, social, and confessional crisis in the empire punctuated by a long war with Venice over the island of Crete (1644–1669), the failed siege of Vienna (1683), and the subsequent economic and political crises that shook the foundations of the empire and were spurred by a series of Janissary rebellions. Moreover, the second half of the seventeenth century witnessed intense religious and social upheavals among Muslim and Jewish communities within the empire, pitching the fundamentalist Kadizadeli ulema (religious scholars) against popular Sufi groups (Mevlevis and Halvetis) and the followers of a Jewish messianic movement led by Sabbatai Zevi. As a result of these turbulent times various forces, particularly among the Ottoman imperial political and religious elite, struggled to define religious and communal identities and gender roles according to their ideological agendas. At stake, in their minds, was the “proper” Islamic religious identity of the empire, its ruling dynasty, and society as a whole.

 

15 Leaving France, “Turning Turk,” Becoming Ottoman: The Transformation of Comte Claude-Alexandre de Bonneval into Humbaraci Ahmed Pasha

ePub

Julia Landweber

DECEMBER 1729 found the professional soldier Claude-Alexandre, comte de Bonneval, in trouble, which was not an unusual state for him. In his youth he had been exiled from his native France for military insubordination, and more recently he had left the Austrian Hapsburg Empire after a similar offense. He tried settling in Venice, but when the long arm of Hapsburg displeasure made it intolerable for him to remain in Europe, he departed for the Ottoman Empire with a plan to avenge his lost honor. Hapsburg officials soon traced him to Bosnia (the first Ottoman territory he was able to reach) and detained him under house arrest. A man of action, he was forced to wait months while his captors debated sending him back to Vienna to stand trial or poisoning him on the spot.

Under these conditions Bonneval addressed a letter to France’s ambassador in Istanbul. Framing his request specifically in terms of natal identity, he begged the marquis de Villeneuve to rescue him:

 

16 Out of Africa, into the Palace: The Ottoman Chief Harem Eunuch

ePub

Jane Hathaway

WHEN THE VENETIAN ambassador Ottaviano Bon wrote his description of the Ottoman imperial palace, Topkapı, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, he reported that the mother of Sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603–1617) had “at her gate a black eunuch, the chief of the totally castrated black eunuchs, who, numbering perhaps thirty, like him remain constantly guarding the aforesaid gate.”1 These gate guardians represented only a tiny fraction of the eunuchs employed in the harem as a whole; according to modern-day estimates, the corps of harem eunuchs in Bon’s day numbered between 800 and 1,200. There had never been, nor would there ever be again, so many eunuchs employed in the Ottoman harem. What is more, virtually all of them were from East Africa, particularly Ethiopia (known as Abyssinia). Bon himself never set foot in the harem, which was off limits to any uncastrated adult male apart from the sultan himself. The world of the harem thus acquired all the mystery and allure of any secret, highly restricted place. That the sultan’s wives, concubines, mother, and unmarried sisters and daughters were secluded there added to the aura of mystery but so, too, did the large numbers of East African eunuchs who guarded the harem precinct. To European observers, they were doubly exotic. Not only were they “outsiders” from faraway Africa; they had been castrated before puberty and consequently bore the marks of early hormonal deprivation: unnaturally high voices, absence of facial hair, unusual height, and extreme thinness or obesity. (See figure 16.1.)

 

17 The Province Goes to the Center: The Case of Hadjiyorgakis Kornesios, Dragoman of Cyprus

ePub

Antonis Hadjikyriacou

The dragoman of Cyprus . . . [caused] sedition and discord . . . by performing a great deal of villainy . . . to the Muslim worshippers. . . . [He escaped from Cyprus, and] when he arrived at Istanbul he was hidden in the palaces of the European states. . . . [He was] executed in front of the Sublime Gate, and his corpse was put upside-down in the basket of a broom-seller, carried around, and left outside the gate of the fish market; he thus became a warning to others. . . . He was going to escape to Russia by converting his property and cash to bills of exchange. . . . His house in Beşiktaş was given . . . to the Chief tax-inspector. . . . It was rumored that all his property and cash totaled 11,000 purses [5,500,000 kuruş].1

It is not very often that one finds Cypriot officials executed in Istanbul, let alone their execution described in Ottoman chronicles. Hadjiyorgakis Kornesios is one of the most intriguing figures in the history of Ottoman Cyprus and, given the above passage, understandably so. He was at the center of the political, social, and economic life of the island from the late eighteenth century until his death in 1809. Thus, he is one of the best-documented subjects of the Ottoman period of Cypriot history, and information on his activities appears in unconventional sources, such as folk songs, an agrarian almanac recording major events, and a narrative written on the back of a church icon.2

 

Load more


Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub (DRM)
Encrypted
true
Sku
2370007442928
Isbn
9780253019486
File size
0 Bytes
Printing
Disabled
Copying
Disabled
Read aloud
No
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata